About Chevy Chase, MD

Chevy Chase is the name of a town, an unincorporated census-designated place (Chevy Chase (CDP), Maryland), and a neighborhood in Washington, D.C., United States. Several settlements in Montgomery County, Maryland, and one neighborhood of Washington include Chevy Chase in their names. These villages, the town, and the CDP share a common history and together form a larger community colloquially referred to as Chevy Chase.

According to history, the name Chevy Chase is believed to come from Cheivy Chace. This was the name of the land that Colonel Joseph Belt patented from Charles Calvert, 5th Baron Baltimore on July 10, 1725. The land has associations with a 1388 border raid that was fought over hunting grounds between Lord Percy of England and Earl Douglas of Scotland. This event became known as “The Ballad of Chevy Chase”.

History of Chevy Chase, MD

The 19th century was a time of expansion for Washington, D.C., and its surrounding areas. In the 1880s, Senator Francis G. Newlands of Nevada and his partners began acquiring farmland in the unincorporated area of Maryland and just inside the District of Columbia, with the goal of developing a residential streetcar suburb for the city. The Chevy Chase Land Company was founded in 1890, and its holdings of more than 1,700 acres (6.9 km2) eventually extended along present-day Connecticut Avenue from Florida Avenue north to Jones Bridge Road.

Newlands, a white supremacist, and his development company took steps to ensure that the residents of their new suburbs would be wealthy and white; for example, “requiring, in the deed to the land, that only a single-family detached house costing a large amount of money could be constructed. The Chevy Chase Land Company did not include explicit bars against non-white people, known as racial covenants, but the mandated cost of the house made it impractical for all but the wealthiest non-white people to buy the land.

The Chevy Chase Land Company blocked a proposed subdivision called Belmont in 1906, after learning that its Black developers aimed to sell house lots to other African Americans. In subsequent litigation, the company and its affiliates argued that those developers had committed fraud by proposing “to sell lots…to negroes.”

By the 1920s, restrictive covenants were added to Chevy Chase real estate deeds. Some prohibited both the sale or rental of homes to “a Negro or one of the African race.” Others prohibited sales or rentals to “any persons of the Semetic race”.